Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday ordered the release of the pending amounts under the Ashirward scheme. He directed the Finance Dept to forthwith clear all pending cases for the months of April-September 2017. The Chief Minister also sought a detailed report on the audit of private colleges for the release of the post-matric scholarship scheme for SC and ST students.
The decisions came at a review meeting of the government’s welfare schemes, chaired by the Chief Minister and attended by senior officials of the finance and social welfare departments.
Taking a serious view of the delay in disbursement of payments under various schemes, the Chief Minister ordered the immediate release of the pending amount under the Ashirward Scheme at Rs 15000 per girl for the April-June 2017 period, to be followed by payment for July-September.
The total amount which will be immediately clear is Rs 44 crores, an official spokesperson disclosed after the meeting.
The meeting also discussed the post-matric scholarship scheme for SC and ST students and reviewed the progress of the audit being done of the 100% centrally sponsored scheme amid reports that many private colleges were availing benefits under the scheme against fake enrolment of students.
Directing that the audit, which was initiated against private colleges for payments made to them over the last five years, be completed in two weeks, the Chief Minister asked the department to take punitive action against the colleges found guilty of bogus enrolment.
While ordering the release of money due to government colleges, Captain Amarinder asked the Chief Secretary to examine all cases relating to for a detailed report before releasing money to the private colleges, said the spokesperson, adding that Rs 115 crore was due to be released by the state government under the scheme.
Of the 900 plus colleges being audited, bunglings have been uncovered so far in 250 colleges, and it is estimated that Rs 500 crore of pilferage could have happened under the scheme.
In another initiative, Captain Amarinder directed release of Rs 9 crore pending for last fiscal and Rs 8 crore for current fiscal, at the rate of Rs 50 per child, to incentivize SC girl students to attend school. A total of over 1.53 lakh girls will be benefitted, said the spokesperson.
On the issue of waiver of outstanding loans of up to Rs 50,000 of Punjab Backward Classes Land Development and Finance Corporation (Backfinco), the Chief Minister sought a proposal from the welfare department to be placed before the cabinet for clearance.
The Chief Minister directed the department to take all steps to ensure that only genuine beneficiaries get the benefit of the various social welfare schemes of the government. He made it clear that he expected total transparency and accountability in the execution of the schemes, which the erstwhile SAD-BJP government had reduced to a total mockery by diverting the allocated funds to their kith and kin, and political supporters.